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Top updates on Congress vs Congress in Rajasthan

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The death of a nine-year-old schoolkid in Rajasthan’s Jalore has become the latest flashpoint of the infighting within the Congress leadership in the state. The incident has led to a fresh standoff between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot. 

Here are the top updates on the big story:

The incident has led to severe criticism of the Gehlot government, not just by the opposition, but also by a section of his party. 

Congress MLA Pana Chand Meghwal and 12 party councillors of Baran Municipal Council have submitted their resignations, putting pressure on Gehlot as they expressed their anguish over atrocities being faced by the Dalits. Ward No.29 councillor Yogendra Mehta said they sent their resignation letters in support of Meghwal and against the government’s failure to protect the Dalits.

Adding to Gehlot’s worries, Pilot met the deceased boy’s family and said that one has to walk the talk to win trust of the Dalit community. “Such incidents need to be strongly condemned. We need to put a check on such incidents. Only laws, speeches and actions are not enough. We will have to give them a strong message that we are with them in order to instil trust in them,” Pilot said, adding, “Family said he was buried during night. Lathi charge done on family.”

Gehlot, on the other hand, accused some party leaders of instigating workers. He, however, refrained from taking any names. “Some of our people, leaders instigate workers by telling them that they should be respected and honoured. It has become a ‘jumla’. have you ever honoured and respected the workers? Do you even know what honour and respect is?” the chief minister said in a veiled attack at Pilot. 

Later in the day, Pilot was absent from the all-party virtual meeting conducted to review the situation of districts affected by the Lumpy Skin disease. 

The two leaders have been at loggerheads over several issues since the Congress high command managed to convince Pilot to end the rebellion against the Gehlot government. 

The fresh round of standoff between the two leaders adds to the Congress’ worries ahead of the Assembly polls in the state next year. The party is in sole power in just two states — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. However, the party has been struggling with infighting in both the states.

After winning the 2018 Rajasthan Assembly polls, the Congress made Gehlot the CM of Rajasthan for a third time and gave Pilot the post of deputy CM.

In July 2020, Pilot along with 18 other disgruntled Congress MLAs, revolted against the leadership of Gehlot which created a crisis for the government. Later, Pilot was sacked as deputy CM and PCC chief. The month-long crisis ended after the intervention of Rahul Gandhi.

Indra Meghwal, a nine-year-old student of a private school in Surana village of Jalore district, was beaten up by his teacher on July 20 for allegedly touching a drinking water pot. The boy succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Ahmedabad on August 13.

 

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